Denise Hagan Rubin was sworn in for duty as a new member of the Berea Planning Commission Tuesday night. On Monday, the Berea City Council voted 7-1 to appoint Hagan Rubin to the commission during a special called council meeting. In placing Hagan Rubin’s name into nomination, Berea Mayor Steve Connelly recalled the words of the city’s second mayor, Clint Hensley, who advocated a policy of planned development to ensure the city pursues a high quality of employers as well as stable, long-term economic growth. Said Mayor Connelly:
“Berea has had a planning commission since 1959 and, for decades, has followed a “planned development” approach to growth even in recruiting manufacturing companies As Mayor Hensley recalled about the process of recruiting Parker Seal, Dresser, Gibson, Goodyear, Keller, and Suburban Homes/Hyster, planning was important:
‘We’ve had to be real strict…We’ve got to know they’re not fly-by-nighters. They’ve got to be financially sound….above all, they’ve got to be nonpolluters…we turned down a leather-tanning outfit, and I know where it is, and they’d like to get rid of it. We turned down a fertilizer manufacturing company, and they’d like to get rid of it. We turned down a yarn manufacturing and dying plant, and they’d like to get rid of it. There’s a lot of things that doesn’t meet the eye of the public that we’ve said “No” to, because we don’t want that kind of industry in our community.’
Planned growth for years has led to smart choices and has been a successful strategy for Berea, attracting quality manufacturing plants in successive waves over the years that have yielded a number of manufacturing jobs that exceed Richmond’s. We have also witnessed a steady expansion of general business since I-75 opened at Berea in 1966.
This record of growth over the decades demonstrates that planned growth has not been antibusiness. Those who promote that fiction tend either to ignore the data, deny the impact of national economic trends that dominate our local economy, or use that rhetoric to justify a personal resentment.
Over the years, our planning commission has played an important role in implementing this strategy. Therefore, to support and perpetuate Berea’s continued use of planned growth procedures in regulating our changing local economy for the best interest of all of our citizens, it is my pleasure to nominate Denise Hagan to the Berea Planning Commission.
She is a former member of council and currently serves on the Board of Adjustments. She resides in Berea and has been a member of the Vineyard Homeowners Association for several years. She cares about Berea and will work hard to interpret and enforce our land use regulations fairly and dispassionately.”